WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House’s most conservative caucus announced its “Shrink Washington, Grow America” plan on Friday as the debt ceiling debate continues in Washington.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, began the caucus’ press conference by discussing the Democrats’ support for a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill that President Joe Biden signed into law on Dec. 23.
“Two weeks after that, on Jan. 13, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen informed America that our debt had reached its statutory limit. The point is that this current debt crisis has been created solely by reckless Democrat policies and out-of-control spending,” Perry said.
The United States reached its debt limit of $31.4 trillion on Jan. 19.
“However, America will not default on our debts unless President Biden chooses to do so. To ensure America does not default on our debts, the House Freedom Caucus is offering a responsible solution to this self-imposed crisis,” Perry said.
“Simply put, the plan is to shrink Washington and grow America,” he explained.
In order to accomplish the first part of the plan, Perry said, “we save money now by ending President Biden’s $400 billion student loan bailout” and “we rescind all unobligated COVID-19 funds.”
“We recoup the $80 billion in IRS expansion funds and we recoup billions of dollars of wasteful climate change spending in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, and by finding every single dollar spent by Democrats that can be reclaimed for the American taxpayer,” the congressman explained. “Doing this will lower dollar for dollar the amount needed for any increase in the debt ceiling.”
Some of the caucus’ “major policy changes and reforms” to achieve the second part of the plan include:
Curtailing burdensome regulations by requiring congressional approval under the REINS Act;
Unleashing the production of reliable domestic energy by ending federal regulations and subsidies;
Restoring Clinton-era work requirements on welfare programs; and
Passing a pre-emptive Continuing Resolution with non-defense discretionary spending restored to the pre-COVID FY2019 level to force Congress to pass appropriations in a timely manner.
The Biden administration on Thursday released an outline for its fiscal year 2024 budget.
“[Biden’s] budget makes his priorities clear: His administration is at war with the American people’s freedom and prosperity. We need to shrink Washington and grow America. His budget would do the opposite,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, chairman of the caucus’ policy proposals, said at the press briefing.
“Look, his budget proposes a $3 trillion tax hike,” Roy explained. “We think we should do the opposite. We think we should be pulling government back, getting out of the way the American people, letting them create growth and opportunity for their kids and grandkids, and if you create economic growth, you can actually grow out of the debt that we face.”
It is the only way. The only way to save this country and to advance America is to stop spending money we don’t have for the very tyranny the American people sent us here to stop. We believe we can do that. Scott outlined it.
I don’t need to repeat it too much, but just understand we can save over $3 trillion over the next decade by putting that spending for the federal bureaucracy back to pre-COVID levels.
Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, also discussed what he views as “a critical time in our nation.”
“One of the biggest national security issues we are facing right now is the fiscal status of this nation,” Cloud added. “We’re at a time where other nations are trying to challenge us as a world reserve currency, and in this context, Joe Biden puts out a budget that doubles down on the drunk government binge spending practices that have put us in this very position.”
The Congressional Budget Office released its yearly report in February, which “projects a federal budget deficit of $1.4 trillion for 2023.” The report also showed that the U.S. is expected to add about $19 trillion to the nation’s debt over the next 10 years.
Phillip Swagel, director of the CBO, hosted a briefing about the nation’s debt for bipartisan House lawmakers on Wednesday.
“We just left a briefing with the Congressional Budget Office director,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said following the meeting. “As you all know, this is probably something really new. Normally, we’d never get together, Republicans and Democrats, for a joint briefing in the auditorium unless it’s a classified briefing, if there’s a threat to America, and I firmly believe one of the greatest threats to America is our debt, and the Congressional Budget Office recently came out with their new projections and they look at everything in a 10-year window.”
“In the next 10 years, Americans will pay $10.5 trillion just on the interest on our debt. Now, to put that in perspective, since 1940 till today, America’s only paid $9 trillion in interest, so in the next 10 years we’ll pay more than we paid in the last 80 years,” McCarthy said.
Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, warned of what might happened should Congress not raise the debt ceiling.
“Congress really needs to raise the debt ceiling … if we fail to do so, I think that the consequences are hard to estimate, but they could be extraordinarily adverse and could do long-standing harm,” Powell said before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
However, Biden responded to the briefing on Twitter, claiming that “Extreme MAGA House Republicans” had put forth a plan prioritizing “tax breaks for the rich.” He characterized their plan as a “gut punch to the middle class.”
Virginia Allen and David Ditch contributed to this report.
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